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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 3:05 p.m., Saturday, June 2, 2007

New Zealand takes 2-0 lead over Italy in yachting

Associated Press

VALENCIA, Spain — Emirates Team New Zealand gave up its right-hand advantage at the start yet beat Luna Rossa of Italy for a 2-0 lead today in the Louis Vuitton Cup final.

Luna Rossa helmsman James Spithill engaged counterpart Dean Barker in the start box for the starboard side after coming in from the left. Barker let the more aggressive Spithill take it as both teams tacked across the start.

The Kiwis used a long tacking duel up the first lap to open up a decisive three boat-length lead. They then matched the Italian boat's every move throughout the race to cross the finish line ahead by 40 seconds.

In yesterday's first flight, Emirates Team New Zealand hung on for a narrow eight-second win after Spithill gave up the right-hand advantage to Barker at the start.

The third flight of the best-of-nine final is scheduled for tomorrow with the winner racing defending champion Alinghi in the America's Cup.